Remembering Betty Inman
Paul A. Pennington
3968 Carson Cutoff
Augusta, GA 30907-3392
Group 28 Leader
Betty Inman, longtime PRA member and Group 28 researcher, died 13 Nov 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida. Her neighbor, Mr. Raymond Paul, took care of her arrangements, as he had for several years, with the A. B. Coleman Mortuary. While she requested no services or obituary, an announcement was published in the (Jacksonville)Florida Times-Union on 15 Nov 2005.
Betty served PRA as editor of the Pennington Cousins’ Courier from 1985 through 1998, and attended eleven PRA annual meetings over the years. She was born Elizabeth Jean Pennington on 1 Apr 1922 in Greeley, Colorado, to William and Myrtle (Nilson) Pennington. Here are some excerpts from her autobiography published in Pennington Pedigrees 17-2, pp. 35-36:
Betty Inman - An Autobiography
My Mother always said she didn't intentionally choose the date, but she introduced me to this old world on April Fool's Day in 1922. We lived in Greeley, Colorado. I was the eldest of four children. Soon after my father opened a garage on his own, the banks failed. Then F.D.R. put the N.R.A. into effect. Times were hard. The dust storms forced us to wear masks over our faces as we went to and from school. Many "Okies" and "Arkies" drifted through Colorado on their way to California. The Depression ruled the country. Through all of these changing times, we remained a close-knit family. I do not believe that we realized we were poor. Everyone else had the same problems. We never lacked necessities; we never had luxuries to miss. We were happy. Then, along came World War II which made many drastic changes in our lives.
Until I was six years old my father's mother lived with us. I can remember her, but I have more memories of her sister, Clarissa, who lived in Denver until her death about 1936. Sunday dinner at her "little old sod shanty on the plains" was always a treat. Her house, made of grass roots and adobe clay blocks, was built a step or two down into the ground. The rest of the house had been added on at various times. We always took her a "mess" of live catfish in a five-gallon gas can. The property is now a runway of Stapleton International Airport. A service entrance street is named Smith in her honor. Often I ask myself why I did not ask her a million questions. She could have told me so much.
My maternal grandmother lived across the street from us until I was fourteen. From her I could have heard what it was like to come across the plains in a covered wagon. A well-kept diary tells how my great-grandparents made the trip. They left Elkhart, Indiana, on their wedding day in 1865. The diary is a joy to read, but it mentions only Grandpa or Uncle so-and-so, without proper names, so is of little help in research.
I graduated from high school in 1940, but jobs were scarce. I found work in a government program at the Weld County Library, where my supervisor was a college professor named James Michener. I learned the Dewey decimal system and how to bind books from him. I now own a full shelf of his books.
A month before Pearl Harbor, I married Richard Inman. By July of 1942 he was drafted. We spent the next two years in Army camp and hospital locations.
After the war, my husband and I traveled a good bit. We were in many locations I would like to research now. An example is Bethany, Missouri, where we once had car trouble and stayed a few days. At that time I had no inkling that Bethany was where my grandparents had been married in 1877. When we were in Columbus, Ohio, I was not even interested in driving about twenty miles to check out records of my maternal grandfather's birth.
My husband died in 1972. I went on working in the retail business as I had for many years. Family history began to mean a little more to me. While I was visiting in Denver in 1974, my cousin, Joan Flint, told me about Pennington Pedigrees. Corbin Pennington of Colorado Springs had loaned her some issues. When I returned home, I ordered the issue, which was then current. With Bee Holmes' help, I soon had all but four publications. When Vivian Pennington began to reprint copies, I completed my library, and I am proud of it. Joan and her mother have joined the D.A.R. through our Pennington-Caudill line.
Last Spring, just before she became so ill, Bee Holmes wrote asking for an index of the Abel lines. This really organized the information that had been printed in Pennington Pedigrees over the years. It was a disappointment that Bee was not able to join us in Louisville to see how much she had enabled us to accomplish. This year I have started indexing the Aarons and the Ephraims. Since they and several Williams and Micajah were all in the same areas, I hope to stumble on some way to tie these lines together.
Maybe one day we can connect all of our lines. Who knows?
PRA Honorary Member and Past President